Monday, 9 April 2018
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 2 Timothy 2:24
Paul is still speaking primarily of ministers here, the letter being a pastoral epistle. However, as the minister is to be an example for the flock, the words are to be carried into the hearts of all believers, and they are to be then acted upon by them. He begins this thought with, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel.” The word he chooses here is one which signifies engaging in battle, fighting one another, and disputing in contention. It was used in Acts 7:26 when speaking of Moses who came upon two Israelites who were disputing between one another. Moses asked them why they would so wrong one another, implying it was a heavy, angry dispute.
Rather than such contentions, the minister of God (and by extension all believers) should strive to be amiable, speaking words of truth. They should maintain a calm demeanor without provoking others to anger or wrath. This was said to apply to Jesus when Matthew quoted Isaiah concerning the coming Messiah –
Instead of such a contrary attitude of quarreling, the minister should “be gentle to all.” The word épios is found only here. It gives the sense of “‘gentle-faith-speaking’ as we yield to God” (HELPS Word Studies). Believers should act in an even-tempered manner, and they should avoid being harsh. Rather, they should be congenial and speak in a forthright manner. In addition to this, ministers should be “able to teach.”
This is the same thing Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:2. The words are exactingly translated and should be easy to understand without further explanation.
Finally, he says that teachers are to be “patient.” It also is a word unique in Scripture. It signifies the ability to endure evil. A minister should be able to bear up, particularly when treated unjustly. Even if his treatment is undeserved, he should attempt to maintain his composure and be steadfast in his testimony before others.
Life application: A lot is expected of ministers. Keep them in prayer.
Lord God, Your word asks ministers to not quarrel, but to be gentle to all. They are to be patient, and also able to teach. Such things can be a daunting challenge when there are those who love to challenge their every spoken word as they conduct their duties. Grant them the ability to let these things go, and to continue to be patient and kind in the face of adversity. Surely Your hand is needed for them to be able to meet these demands. And so we pray for that in them. Amen.